Sunday, September 7, 2008

In Fall Ball "F" Is For Fun

Thousands of towns around America have started their final youth baseball season, Fall Ball. Generally, Fall baseball is more laid back than it's spring and summer counterparts. The focus is generally more fun oriented. I've found that some kids prefer to only play Fall ball just for this reason. Kids who just love the game and don't want the added pressure to succeed and perform.

It's important for town leagues to offer this type of sandlot experience for kids. As manager's some of may be going from the highly competitive summer travel season to the laid back fall ball season. It takes some adjustment. Here are a few things to remember when coaching a fall ball team...

Communicate Your Intentions.. Let players and parents know that you intend to promote fun during the fall ball season.

Give Kids A Chance.. Before your first game, ask the kids what positions like to play. Tell them they may have to play others to help the team but you will do your best to give them playing time in the positions they enjoy.

Promote A Team Atmosphere.. Many people see fall ball as just a pick up league or some sort. If it is an organized league with assigned teams it is important to promote the team concept to the kids. This is part of the learning experience.

Try New Things.. Fall ball is a perfect time for players to try things like hitting lefty or playing a position the don't normally play or a new pitch. Explain to your players that they can use these season to add to their baseball skills.

Focus On Development.. Every error or mistake made on a ball field can be a positive lesson. It is important, especially with kids who only play fall ball, to help them learn from these events. Take the kid who needs help throwing aside with his dad or mom and explain a few drills that will help him. I had a dad tell me his son is a great hitter but in games he's afraid of the ball because he got hit a few times last season. I gave him a few drills to work on to help his son learn out to get out of the way of an inside pitch. He worked on this with his son and guess what... he became one of the best hitters on the team after a few weeks.

In summary, remember to keep fall ball fun. Baseball greatness starts with developing a love for the game. Fall ball is the perfect time to develop the love.

Coach Bob

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